It’s safe to say, London 2012 inspired us all. From the safety of our sofas, we watched the sometimes triumphant, sometimes heart-breaking culmination of years of athletic training. We were already a sports mad nation, but now a whole host of minority sports and their champions have caught our imagination.
Weightlifting has been one such beneficiary of the spotlight and the IWF, the International Weightlifting Federation, wants us to make the transition from spectator to participant, to move from our sofa and into the gym.
As with any exercise regime, it’s no surprise that one of weightlifting’s benefits is to your health and fitness. The Harvard School of Public Health claims it can help you in one way you may not have imagined.Their new piece in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that you can lower your chances of type 2 diabetes by a third, if you lift weights five times a week.
Diabetes is a widespread problem. If you live in the UK, your chances of having it are 1 in 20, with type 2 the most common form. It’s caused by a lack of insulin and normally starts to affect people in their middle-age, either because their body has stopped producing enough insulin, or because their cells have begun to resist it. If left unchecked, diabetes can result in kidney or heart failure, reducing the average life expectancy by 10 years.
Diabetes is treatable and a combined with a balanced diet, can reduce your chances of its development. Regular exercise is another essential factor in avoiding the disease and the study showed that weightlifting is the most effective and easy kind.
The study showed that any aerobic exercise will reduce the risk of diabetes, but an aerobic workout, combined with weight lifting sets, was better. Weightlifting under a controlled regime can increase muscle mass in around two months and can also reduce the level of plasma-free fatty acids in the body.
On a practical level, weightlifting can be done by anyone. You don’t have to be fit to lift weights and you don’t, necessarily, have to leave the house. It can also help those who already have diabetes by controlling their blood sugar levels.
Weightlifting 3 times a week (in 45 minute sessions) can reduce blood sugar levels by 15, which may not sound like much, but can mean you’re 20% less likely to suffer from a stroke or heart-attack.
Chris Felton works for Medical Sure who are experts in finding discounts on your health insurance premium.